Paul — Inter­pre­tive Officer

How did you come to this job?

Pri­or to this job I was a com­mu­ni­ty envi­ron­ment offi­cer for a local coun­cil in Ade­laide. We gave the coun­cil the ideas and the projects, then sought the fund­ing to make small, but sig­nif­i­cant changes along the coast.

I have always been inter­est­ed in ani­mals and their envi­ron­ments, so Seal Bay was an amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty at the right time for me.

What do you most like about your work?

I have lived and breathed Seal Bay since its ear­ly days. I love the life sto­ries of the indi­vid­ual sea lions. For exam­ple, the moth­er of female 82 was res­cued from marine debris caught around her neck. When I arrived, Female 82 was a pup (a bit like me!) and now, many years lat­er, she’s been a mum to sev­er­al pups.

As a pup she sur­vived an attack by anoth­er sea lion, leav­ing a scar on her neck, and she sur­vived a shark attack that left a scar across her rump. Because of these two scars she is the most recog­nis­able ani­mal in the colony. Ask the guides at Seal Bay about her sto­ry when you visit.

What’s the most amaz­ing thing you’ve seen at work?

I think amaz­ing’ hap­pens each time we take a tour group into this wild colony.

My own most amaz­ing event was watch­ing a pup being born on the main beach. Even now this is a rare occur­rence as the sea lions tend to shel­ter away in rocky areas. This par­tic­u­lar female strug­gled for hours with a breach birth. When the pup final­ly came out there was a big sigh of relief from the audi­ence – and prob­a­bly from the mum and pup too.

What fas­ci­nates you about the Aus­tralian sea lion?

The Aus­tralian sea lion has a very dif­fer­ent breed­ing pat­tern to oth­er ani­mals – being 18 months long. The invest­ment that each mum has to put into her pup is phenomenal.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your own time?

I love pho­tog­ra­phy. My favourite shots are ani­mal por­traits. I hope to por­tray the char­ac­ter or spir­it in my pho­tos. I also love the chal­lenge of action shots, espe­cial­ly with birds in flight or seals in the water.